Local man found burned was midlevel operative in international crime organization


A man found burned to death in an SUV on the city's East Side in February served as an operative in an intercontinental criminal organization, U.S. attorneys said.

A federal grand jury indicted 20 people from the Youngstown area, and says Zachary Howell, 40, recruited them to help steal and launder at least $16 million from 2012 to 2016.

Howell’s slaying is unrelated to his role as a midlevel operative in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Flannery said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation served arrest warrants in Youngstown, Pittsburgh and Atlanta at 7 a.m. Wednesday. Two people were arrested in Atlanta, one in Pittsburgh and 10 in Youngstown.

The operation involved more than 100 law-enforcement officers.

FBI offices in Youngstown, Buffalo and Tampa investigated the case along with the Toronto Police Service.

Todd Werth, who leads the Youngstown office, said hundreds of hours of interviews and extensive examinations of bank records went into the case.

Read more about the case in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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